Pressure aids PHS

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pleasant Home's Tanner Veasey advances on the ball Tuesday night. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Pleasant Home’s Tanner Veasey advances on the ball Tuesday night. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Eagles beat Florala 55-34 in area action

Pleasant Home boys coach Bradley Stephens had a simple message at halftime for his team — bring the pressure.

The Eagles did that from the start of the second half and pulled away to earn a 55-34 area victory over Florala on Tuesday night.

Stephens said PHS had trouble containing the Wildcats during the second period, where FHS closed a 13-point deficit to cut the Eagles’ lead to single digits.

“We kept letting them come back in and it was just like we weren’t doing what we needed to be doing defensively,” Stephens said. “They, what I call, ratcheted things down and they started playing what they needed to do. They tightened down on defense and that’s what got them out of the jam; that’s what allowed them to pull away.”

The Eagles took a 25-16 lead into the break, and starting rolling when Troy Fantroy — who led PHS with 20 points — made a turn-around jumper. Chase Gunter, then got a steal off of a pressure turnover and made a pass to Fantroy for a layup to force FHS to call a timeout with 7:00 left in the third period.

Gunter then converted after another turnover on a jumper to make it 31-16 to bring teh game out of reach.

Florala’s Ray Hall made a nice inside pass to Austin Franklin for a layup to cut it to 31-18. After another missed opportunity on the offensive end for PHS, the Wildcats took advantage as Khalen Ball shot a nice pass to Hall to bring the game to 31-20.

Gunter then made a long rebound and jump shot, and Jon Cole Chesser found fellow junoir Tanner Veasey for an easy bucket to bring the Eagles’ lead to 35-20.

FHS coach Troy Stewart said he knew Stephens was going to bring the pressure in the third period.

“We struggled with the pressure,” Stewart said. “It’s a concern for us. Over time, especially when I get them this summer, it’s stuff we’ll work on and change, along with working on fundamentals.”

Alex Myrick then got a 3-point play and made a layup after Gunter made a drive to the basket off of another FHS turnover to increase the Eagles’ lead to 42-21 after the third period.

PHS outscored the Wildcats 17-5 in the third period.

Florala’s Stephen Ratliff made three foul shots to make it 48-25 in the fourth on his team’s senior night.

Gunter made a drive to the lane and Veasey got in two foul shots for a 50-25 lead.

Later on, Gunter’s 3-pointer made it 53-27. Hall then cut it to 53-30 on a trey of his own.

Fantroy added 6 rebounds on the night. He scored 16 of his points in the first half.

Gunter scored 11 points; and Myrick chipped in 9 points and 10 rebounds.

Ball scored 13 to lead FHS, and Hall chipped in 10.

Chesser got an early layup in the first period and found Veasey for a 4-0 lead in the first period.

Florala’s Avery McNeill got a putback to make it 8-2 to end the early run for the Eagles.

Fantroy nailed a 3-pointer to increase the lead to 13-2, and got a putback for a 13-point advantage.

PHS led 17-4 after the first period.

The Wildcats started climbing back right from the start of the second period with the addition of Ball and Ratliff, who sat out the first period.

Ball got a 3-pointer and made a putback off of a rebound to bring the game to 17-9. The freshman later made a 3-point play and got a dunk after a steal to bring the game to 22-16.

What really helped the Eagles throughout the game, especially in the third period, was getting the ball within the arch, Stephens said.

“They started penetrating more,” he said. “They would take jump shots they knew they could hit, rather than settling for just constant outside shots. You have to be able to do those things.”

With this win, the Eagles improve to 7-16 overall, and will need to win Friday against Geneva County on senior night to have a chance at finishing as the No. 3 seed in Class 1A, Area 2.

Florala visits Kinston on Friday night, and is aiming for a win to force a three-way tie if PHS loses.